This is an excellent article by Brian Solis which confirms what we have been saying now for 4 months or so. The buyer (in B2B and B2C) is now very comfortable searching on-line and are empower through mobile, to do this, anytime and anywhere.
The problem for many Marketers and Marketing Gurus is that there is less emphasis and getting less and less every day on websites. Buyers see them as "boring" brochures and they are built around the "push marketing" strategies of yesterday.
Buyers are looking for and consuming content. They are looking for insight and education about what ever it is they want to buy. If you are not providing that content then you are leaving money on the table.
The "technology" that is taking over from websites and SEO is intent data. Each buyer is leaving digital footprints as they research and you need to be tracking and engaging with the buyers. Note I didn't say, spamming them. Buyers are looking for helpful conversations. This requires marketing to pivot from traditional push marketing of cold calling, cold emails, advertising etc to building networks, communities and having conversations.
We use MSE (Microsoft Social Engagement) which is part of Microsoft Dynamics as a way to listen (by salesperson territory) and leads found can drop straight into the Microsoft CRM. Which enables you to connect, directly social media activity with revenue.
The world is changing and social is the oil lubricating that change.
Research is now starting to show how smartphones are empowering customers to seek and discover richer, more personalized information. For any marketer, the question is no longer just about how to ensure brands appear in key search moments online, but also about the type of role brands should play in the conversation — including how they influence and affirm the experiences people are seeking IRL (in real life).